5 Back-To-School Trends and Tips for Selling Online

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Each week, we publish a mishmash of ecommerce-related, insight-infused articles for your to smash through. Just as we collect business information across all of a merchant’s channels in a single place, we’re doing the same for ecommerce related content from a variety of top tier content creators.

August is here, and that means we’re one month closer to the holiday season. But for many younger individuals, it actually means one month closer to the opposite of a holiday; it’s one month closer to the beginning of school. Yes, the back-to-school (B2S) season is upon us, so it’s time to get your online cash register ringing before the school bell officially rings. In this week’s mishmash, we’ve compiled what to expect this month, tips to make the most out of your marketing, how college millennials are behaving, and more.

Studying Before the Final Month

Let’s backtrack to a couple of months back when B2S was just a twinkle in parents’ eyes. A study held in February by Bizrate Insights on 3,500+ online shoppers yielded some interesting tidbits of what to expect. As it turns out, some consumers prepare for B2S prior to July — the more popular month to begin shopping — even arrives. No worries, though. Now is the time when the majority of consumers are buying — at 30% or respondents. Lots of other information is available inside the study, some of which may indicate what to expect further down the calendar during peak holiday selling months. For instance, 69% of B2S shoppers are using mobile devices for research, and they’re planning to spend a little less this year.

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Taking Your Marketing Degree to the Nth Degree

And one of the reasons consumers are willing to wait until August to buy up their B2S needs is because they’re waiting for you to appeal to them. That means promotions, engagement, discounts… marketing. For managing that marketing, Bigcommerce has 14 back-to-school tips aimed at successfully wooing consumers into purchasing your products. It’s a safe bet that B2S consumers are mostly parents, which makes it safe to say they’re on Facebook. Consider pushing out B2S themed posts, buying some ad space, or launching a contest. Also, pics with adorable children are sure to get consumers clicking. Little Billy would be just as happy as that kid in the stock photo if he just had the backpack they’re sporting.

Mobile Is Major

Just for emphasis — consumers are definitely looking for discounts, and they’re definitely browsing on their smartphones. A study by Market Track showed that many B2S-shopping parents wield their smartphones with the explicit purpose of hunting down the best deals available. The focus is entirely on savings — B2S consumers are comparing prices between retailers, snooping for codes, coupons, and deals, and more. Give the chart below by eMarketer a look:

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Collecting Collegiate Customers

Kindergarteners, even high school seniors, are all small timers. Kid stuff. The meaty B2S revenue comes from those millennial college kids. Branding Brand conducted a 1,000+ study on college-aged, online shoppers, asking how and why they’d shop online for their B2S needs. Around 10% of respondents said they’d purchase every single one of their needed items online. What’s deterring them from shopping completely online? Shipping. They want quick, free shipping (thanks Amazon Prime), and shipping fees are enough for them to abandon carts. Oddly enough, 10% said they preferred online shopping because they could drink while doing it… let’s hope the alcohol persuades them to plug in those credit card digits.

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The Freshman Fifteen Percent

Just how this B2S season will perform is anyone’s guess, but eMarketer’s guess is that it’ll grow considerably in lieu of ecommerce’s growth as a whole. They expect B2S sales as a whole (that’s online and offline sales combined) to inch upwards by 2.6% this year, but ecommerce is a whole different story. Online sales driven by the school season are expected to pop up by 15.3% this year, eating into the season’s more traditional sales that arrive via offline channels.

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